Makes sense… it’s the start of the new school year, and the evenings start to draw in. What better time to think about making internal improvements, having made improvements to your exterior over the spring and summer!
Organizing isn’t just for physical items. You can organize your learning and your thinking, and this will help you achieve your goals.
If you’re unfamiliar with, or just want a reminder of, some good “study” techniques as you launch into your self-improvement, here are some basic guidelines:
1. First and foremost, determine your goal(s). Without doing this, you won’t know if the activities you choose will actually be worth the time and effort. For example, if you want to improve your cooking skills and you also want to lose 30 pounds, you’ll know the answer to “Should I take the cake frosting class, or the hearty soup class?”
2. What’s your deadline? Is it realistic? Really??
3. Now, create a schedule. Be realistic about this as well! Be sure to include practice time, reading time, thinking time, whatever you need. Post this schedule where you’ll see it; add it to your digital calendar if you use one. If you use a digital calendar, it helps to set email alerts for specific activities (I have a rule: if I receive an alert, I have to do it!).
4. Decide what your milestones will be, so you know when to give yourself a reward. What reward will you give yourself when you finish that book or online course? It could be a food treat, going for a walk in a nice park, seeing a movie, buying a new pair of socks, etc.
5. It’s common in self-improvement projects to note and reflect on “aha” moments. Use a notebook (small enough to carry with you) to keep track of activities or behavior that help (or hinder) your progress. This enables you to see how you learn best so you can apply this new info in the future.
6. To make sure your learning sticks, create a review schedule – use it or lose it! Having completed an online class or read a specific chapter, for example, review your notes an hour later. Review them again before you go to bed (you continue learning in your sleep!). Review the next day, a week later, a month after that, then six months after that. This review schedule lets your brain focus on something different in each review. By the time you’ve finished the six-month review you can probably toss your notes – yay, less clutter!
You’ve achieved your goal – well done!